It always comes down to this. When the Edmonton Oilers went to the SCF in 2006, the team had myriad value deals (six in total). Let’s quickly review them (alpha order):
- Marc Andre Bergeron ($931k). Bergeron played 1600 minutes in the 05-06 season, 350 of that on the powerplay. He delivered 2.74/60 with the man advantage but was pretty solid at EVs (1/60) and his 15-20-35 for the season was exceptional for the price.
- Ales Hemsky ($901,740). Hemsky played 1375 minutes in the 05-06 season, slightly over 400 of them on the powerplay. His PP/60 number (6.17) was very nice, his EV number was 2.25. That PP number helped him lead the team in scoring (19-58-77) and he delivered 6-11-17 in the playoffs too. A wonderful payoff for less than a million, a season to remember.
- Shawn Horcoff ($1M). Horcoff played almost 1600 minutes, almost 300 on the PP and 225 on the PK. In 05-06 he went 3-3-6 on the PK (about 1.6/60), went 4.82/60 on the PP and then 2.44 at EVs and this was against the other team’s good players.
- Fernando Pisani ($611,800). In 05-06 he was excellent in the regular year and ridiculous in the postseason. Pisani played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 150 on the PP. He did a lot of heavy lifting at EVs and still managed to score 1.84/60 (he was 1.39 this past season) and 3.59 on the PP. Pisani was Guy Lafleur in the post season, 14-4-18 in a run I will never forget. At $611,800 he was ridiculous value.
- Jarret Stoll ($501,600). Stoll played 1500 minutes in 05-06, 410 on the PP and 200 on the PK. He was a pretty valuable hockey player. On the PP he was 4.53 (4.2 this season) and at EVs he was 2.35 (2.2 this season) on the way to 82gp, 22-46-68 totals. At the price, he was extremely valuable.
- Raffi Torres ($875,000). Raffi played 1100 minutes in 05-06, 224 of them on the PP. His EV number was 2.07 in 05-06 and his PP number 2.95. Torres’ biggest moments in the season came during the playoffs when he made some massive hits (one of which had an impact on the SJS series). At this price, he was a bargain.
That’s a monster, monster advantage for any NHL team. SIX men making under $1M large and playing substantial roles. That can make up for a lot of over-payment elsewhere, and gives a team a fantastic chance to ice a deep and balanced team.
POSSIBLE 2017-18 VALUE DEALS
- RD Matt Benning ($900,000). I think there’s a good chance he delivers a value contract next season. He did this year (62gp, 3-15-18) and should be even better in year two NHL. Manna from heaven.
- L Drake Caggiula ($925,000). He began the season injured and for the longest time it was unclear if he could score in the NHL (regular season: 60gp, 7-11-18). I still don’t know folks, but he looks like a player. Can he score 20 goals? If he can, that’s a real bargain. Contract includes a small bonus ($425,000) that may be reachable, making him even more of a value deal should it come to pass.
- R Zack Kassian ($1.5M this season, RFA in summer). Kassian is a player we can argue about, he scored seven goals and 24 points this season and is one his way to a raise. I’ll count him as a possible value deal and you can let me know how you feel about it.
- L Patrick Maroon ($1.5M). One of the true value contracts in the NHL this season, Maroon scored 27 goals, 24 at even strength. Maroon’s emergence for Edmonton after being acquired at the 2015 deadline gave the Oilers more options on LW and helped spread out scoring.
- LC Connor McDavid ($3.775M). Easiest call in the league, McDavid at this price is only available because NHL rules punish earning power during entry-level deals. You have just witnessed one of the greatest value seasons (may be the best) in cap history, Connor McDavid 2016-17. Another one on the way, God willing.
- R Jesse Puljujarvi ($3.425M). May be a long shot, I am including him here because there’s a chance he gets on a skill line and flourishes. Contract is $925,000 and the rest is bonus.
- R Anton Slepyshev ($925,000). He scored 10 points in 41 games while playing 11 minutes a night in 2016-17. If you double the number of games (full season) and give him 150 percent of his minutes, that gets you around 30 points overall. That would be a value contract in my opinion. There is a small bonus option ($400,000) that would increase his deal.
There are seven contracts I can see as being possible value deals. McDavid is a certainty, I would suggest Maroon and Benning have a strong chance too. After that, depends on health, deployment and performance. A nice list. Need more.